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BACKGROUND: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a serious public health issue which experienced a sharp incline during the onset of COVID-19. Increases in other forms of violence, such as violence against children (VAC), have also been linked to the pandemic, and there have been calls for greater prevention efforts that tackle both forms of violence concurrently. The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the urgent need for evidence-based and scalable violence prevention interventions that target multiple forms of family violence. Parenting programmes have shown promising results in preventing various forms of family violence, including IPV and VAC, and have recently experienced an expansion in delivery, with digital intervention formats growing. This paper describes the development and evaluation of the IPV prevention content designed and integrated into ParentText, a chatbot parenting intervention adapted from Parenting for Lifelong Health programmes. METHODS: The ParentText IPV prevention content was developed using the Six Steps in Quality Intervention Development (6SQuID) framework. This involved targeted literature searches for key studies to identify causal factors associated with IPV and determining those with greatest scope for change. Findings were used to develop the intervention content and theory of change. Consultations were held with academic researchers (n = 5), practitioners (n = 5), and local community organisations (n = 7), who reviewed the content. A formative evaluation was conducted with parents in relationships (n = 96) in Jamaica to better understand patterns in user engagement with the intervention and identify strategies to further improve engagement. RESULTS: Using the 6SQuID model, five topics on IPV prevention were integrated into the ParentText chatbot. Text-messages covering each topic, including additional materials such as cartoons and videos, were also developed. The formative evaluation revealed an average user-engagement length of 14 days, 0.50 chatbot interactions per day, and over half of participants selected to view additional relationship content. CONCLUSIONS: This article provides a unique contribution as the first to integrate IPV prevention content into a remotely delivered, digital parenting intervention for low-resource settings. The findings from this research and formative evaluation shed light on the promising potential of chatbots as scalable and accessible forms of violence prevention, targeting multiple types of family violence.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Public Health

Publication Date





COVID-19, Intervention development, Intimate partner violence, Parenting, Violence against children, Child, Humans, Parenting, COVID-19, Intimate Partner Violence, Violence, Data Collection